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TITLE:  SWEDEN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and a multiparty, 
parliamentary democracy.  The King is Chief of State.  All 
executive authority is vested in the Cabinet which is formed 
through direct parliamentary elections every 3 years and 
consists of the Prime Minister (Head of Government) and some 20 
ministers.  A four-party non-socialist minority government came 
to power in October 1991 after national elections.

The police, all security organizations, and the armed forces 
are controlled by and responsive to the civilian authorities 
and are generally scrupulous in their protection of human 
rights.  Either the Government, the judicial system, the 
Parliament, or an ombudsman investigates thoroughly all 
allegations of human rights violations, including the 
occasional allegation of police abuse.

Sweden is an advanced industrial democracy with a high standard 
of living, extensive social services and a mixed economy.  Over 
90 percent of businesses are privately owned.

Human rights are deeply respected and widely protected.  Swedes 
are entirely free to express their political preferences, 
pursue individual interests, and seek legal resolution of 
disputes.  Ombudsmen, appointed by the Parliament but with full 
autonomy, investigate private complaints of alleged abuses of 
authority by officials and prescribe corrective action, if 
required.  There continued to be instances of anti-foreigner 
violence, which were vigorously prosecuted by the Government.  
An assault on Somali immigrants led to prison terms for the 
perpetrators, and the infamous "laser man" who in 1991-92 shot 
almost a dozen immigrants (killing one) was convicted in nine 
of the assaults late in the year.  The overall human rights 
situation was largely unchanged in 1993.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Killing for political motives by the Government or by domestic 
opposition groups did not occur.  Two deaths occurred in 
official custody.  Swedish courts ruled, however, that although 
physical restraint contributed to causing both deaths, the 
deaths occured primarily as a result of medical conditions 
missed by the custodial officers.  The officers in question 
were fined for official negligence.

     b.  Disappearance

Abduction, secret arrests, and clandestine detention by Swedish 
authorities did not occur.

     c.  Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 

Swedish law prohibits these abuses, and the authorities respect 
such prohibitions.  Occasional accusations against individual 
policemen of excessive use of force in connection with arrests 
are carefully investigated, but have not produced evidence of a 
systematic problem.  However, after the September 1993 alleged 
rape of a female motorist in a patrol car by a Gothenburg 
policeman, the national police undertook a review of some 
10,000 cases of past alleged police abuse from the past several 
years to search again for such a pattern; this review continued 
at year's end.  Police officers found guilty of abuse typically 
have been suspended or subjected to other disciplinary actions, 
including prison terms.  One such officer, a male accused of 
undue sexual liberties with an inebriated female, was at year's 
end in the process of being terminated from his position as 
well as facing rape charges in the criminal courts.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Statutory guarantees of individual liberty are observed.  
Persons disturbing the public order or considered dangerous may 
be held for 6 hours without charge.  Criminal suspects may be 
held no longer than 12 hours without formal charges.  If a 
person files for bankruptcy and refuses to cooperate with the 
official investigation, a court may order detention for up to 3 
months, with judicial review every 2 weeks.  Arrest is public 
and by warrant.  The time permitted by law between detention 
and arraignment is 48 hours.  In cases involving potential 
threat to public safety or risk of flight the time between 
arrest and the first court hearing may be extended to 96 hours 
(an extremely rare occurence).  Bail does not exist, but 
suspects not considered dangerous or likely to destroy evidence 
are released to await trial.

By law, Swedish citizens may not be deported.  Convicted 
foreign criminals are often deported at the conclusion of their 
prison terms, unless they risk execution or other severe 
punishment at home.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution forbids deprivation of liberty without public 
trial by a court of law.  The judiciary functions freely and 
independently.  The accused have the right to competent 
counsel, although the availability of public defenders is 
restricted to cases where the maximum penalty could be a prison 
sentence of six months or more.  Convicted persons in most 
instances may appeal to a court of appeals, and in some cases 
also to the Supreme Court.  There are no military courts in 

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The law provides assurance against such arbitrary 
interference.  Home searches are limited to investigations of 
crimes punishable by at least 2 years' imprisonment, such as 
murder, robbery, rape, arson, sabotage, counterfeiting, and 
treason.  Search warrants are granted only on the basis of 
well-founded suspicion.  Wiretaps are permitted only in cases 
involving narcotics or national security.  Searches and 
wiretaps normally require court approval.  When the time factor 
is critical, or when life is believed to be in immediate 
danger, the ranking police officer may approve these measures.  
There is no indication that telephone monotoring is done 
arbitrarily, though an increase of permits was noted during 
1992, primarily involving serious narcotics crimes.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Swedes enjoy these freedoms fully.  Newspapers and periodicals 
are, for the most part, privately owned.  Government subsidies 
to daily newspapers, regardless of political affiliation, help 
assure a plurality of views.

Broadcasting in Sweden operates under a state concession.  The 
Swedish Broadcasting Company and its independent subsidiaries 
(TV-1, TV-2, national and educational radio) previously had a 
monopoly over ground-based broadcasting, although a variety of 
commercial television channels are available via sattelite or 
cable.  An independent commercial television channel with 
ground-based broadcasting rights started operations in March 
1992 and commercial radio stations started to broadcast in the 
fall of 1993.

Publications containing sensitive national security 
information, as well as film and television programs portraying 
excessive violence, are subject to censorship.  Commercial 
video tapes are also censored (and possibly banned) if they 
contain scenes of excessive violence.  The National Board of 
Swedish Film Censors monitors both films and videos slated for 
distribution.  The current Cultural Affairs Minister has 
attempted to abolish the Film Censor Board, but opposition in 
the Swedish Parliament has stalled those efforts.

Academic freedom is respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Swedes exercise these freedoms without restraint.  Public 
demonstrations require a police permit, for which applications 
are routinely approved.  In 1993, in an attempt to stop annual 
right-wing, racist violence on November 30, "Karl XII Day," the 
police and courts initially banned all demonstrations.  The 
Cultural Affairs Minister intervened in the name of free 
speech, however, and reinstated that right so long as 
protestors remained stationary.  A massive police effort made 
this year's demonstrations the most peaceable in many years.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Swedes have unimpaired religious freedom.  There is a state 
Lutheran Church, supported by public funds, but persons not 
wishing to support the state church with their tax money may 
request (and easily receive) suspension of the church tax.  All 
other denominations and faiths are freely observed.  Parents 
have full freedom to teach their children religious practices 
of their choice.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Freedom of movement within and from the country and voluntary 
repatriation are guaranteed to citizens by law and respected in 
practice.  Refugees, displaced persons, and others seeking 
political asylum are on the whole generously treated.  Under 
the Terrorist Act as amended in 1991, foreigers with suspected 
links to terrorist organizations and whose deportations cannot 
be effected, may be required to report regularly to police 
authorities, but there are no travel restrictions, and each 
case must be reviewed by the courts on a regular basis--at 
least every 3 years.

During 1993, an increasing number of illegal immigrants, 
particularly from the former Yugoslavia, caused the Government 
to begin actively searching for and deporting such refugees, 
leading many to "go underground" to avoid deportation.  The 
Government has come under some degree of criticism for such 
actions.  A police raid on a convent which had declared itself 
a "sanctuary" for illegal immigrants shocked many Swedes, 
particularly since children were present, but no change in 
government policy was foreseen as a result of the negative 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Sweden has a long history of vigorous democratic political life 
within a representative, multiparty parliamentary system.  The 
349 seats in the unicameral Parliament are divided 
proportionally among the 7 political parties represented.  A 
party must win a minimum of 4 percent of the votes cast to 
enter Parliament.  Only citizens may be elected to the 
Parliament.  There is universal suffrage beginning at age 18.  
Approximately 85 percent of eligible voters participated in the 
1991 election.  Voting takes place by secret ballot.  Aliens 
who have been legal residents for at least 3 years have the 
right to vote and run for office in municipal elections.

Women participate actively in government and the political 
process, accounting for one-third of the members of 
Parliament.  A Women's Party was formed in October 1992 to 
offer an alternative to those who claim that women's issues are 
not adequately addressed by the established parties.

There are no de jure or de facto barriers to participation by 
the indigenous Sami, otherwise known as Lapps, whose civil and 
political rights are fully protected.  There are no Sami 
members of Parliament, but they are present in leadership 
positions within other centers of power, such as the boards of 
labor unions.

Section 4  Government Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Active private organizations monitor issues such as the impact 
of comprehensive social legislation and the condition of the 
indigenous Sami population.  Ombudsmen serve as official 
governmental monitors of individual rights in Sweden and are 
effective both in making citizens aware of their rights and in 
publicizing and correcting abuse of state authority.  
Government agencies are in close contact with a variety of 
local and international groups working in Sweden and abroad to 
improve human rights observance.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Basic economic, social, and cultural needs for the entire 
population are thoroughly met by the state without 
discrimination in the form of social welfare and medical 
services, benefits to families, pensions, and disability and 
unemployment insurance.


Although there is no institutionalized job discrimination based 
on sex, surveys show that women are underrepresented in higher 
paying jobs, particularly in business, and often receive less 
pay for equal work.  Institutionalized efforts to extend 
equality between the sexes continued in 1993.  Sweden's largest 
political party, the Social Democrats, decided that half of all 
party nominations at all political levels would go to women.  
Possibly due to the recession and the "last hired, first fired" 
discrimination experienced by women, the percentage of women in 
the work force employed full-time fell in 1993 for the first 
time in the postwar period, to 75.9 percent.

Employers are required to base hiring decisions on merit and to 
pursue actively the goal of equality.  A public official [the 
Equality Ombudsman] investigates complaints of sex 
discrimination in the labor market.  However, in 1993 the 
Ombudsman received little attention and is perceived to have 
made little progress.  Most cases reported to her were 
withdrawn before completion due to some resolution having been 
reached between the parties or a decision by the complainant to 
withdraw the case.  Sexual harassment is prohibited by law.  
The issue of sexual harassment at work received continued high 
attention in 1993.  Several work places started programs to 
prevent such practices.

Rape and abuse of women continued to receive a great deal of 
attention.  Laws protect abused women from having their abusers 
discover their whereabouts or contact them.  In a few cases, 
women have been helped to obtain new identities and homes.  In 
1992 the Government decided to provide bodyguards for women in 
extreme danger of being assaulted by former male companions.  
Those in slightly less danger have been provided with 
electronic alarms that can summon the police, methods which the 
women report have significantly improved their quality of life 
and sense of security.  The abusers typically are prosecuted 
and sentenced to jail terms or psychiatric treatment.  Both 
national and local governments support voluntary groups that 
provide shelter and help to abused women.  The number of 
reported rapes, some 1,400 yearly, has remained at 
approximately the same level since 1989.


The Government is strongly committed to protecting children's 
rights and welfare.  Swedish law prohibits parents or other 
caretakers from abusing children either mentally or 
physically.  Parents, teachers, and other adults are subject to 
prosecution if they physically punish a child.  Children have 
the right to report such abuses to the police; on some 
occasions parents have been found guilty of physical abuse in a 
court of law.  The usual sentence has been a fine, combined 
with counselling and monitoring of the family by social 
workers.  If the situation warrants, children may be removed 
from the home and placed in foster care.  However, because of a 
strong legal emphasis on parental rights, it is extremely rare 
for such children to be adopted officially by their foster 
families or others.  As in the past several years, the number 
of cases of reported abuse in 1993 rose by approximately 25 
percent.  Swedish experts attribute virtually all of the 
increase to a rise in reporting of abuse rather than to a rise 
in abusive behavior.  The Government allocates funds to 
independent organizations involved with children's rights.  
During 1993 a Child Ombudsman was appointed, taking office in 

     Indigneous Peoples

Some 17,000 Sami (Lapps) live in Sweden.  While there are no 
formal obstacles to their participation in the political 
process, they tend to address their specific interests through 
various organizations earmarked for Sami such as the National 
Association of Swedish Sami which was organized in 1918.  A 
Sami "parliament", the "Sametinget," was formed in 1993, 
consisting of 31 members.  Eleven different Sami parties are 
represented in the Sametinget, which is to convene four times a 
year and have consultative responsibilities to the Government.

A law permitting non-Sami to hunt on designated reindeer 
pastures went into effect during 1993.  Several Sami protested 
with hunger demonstrations.  Yet another law permitting 
non-Sami to fish in lakes previously reserved for the Sami is 
scheduled to go into effect by January 1994.  A suspension of 
that law, and the abolition of the new hunting law, is on the 
new Sametinget's agenda.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

There were a number of incidents of anti-foreigner acts in 
1993, some violent.  Most of the incidents involved clashes 
between groups of ethnic Swedish and non-Swedish youths.  At 
least a dozen immigrants were physically assaulted, and several 
immigrant businesses and homes were burned or damaged.  Threats 
of such violence are more common and appear to be increasing.  
For example, in one case a Greek restaurant in a small coastal 
town closed after repeated threats and harassment by local 
youths and complaints by neighbors that the restaurant was 
"un-Swedish."  Also, the Talinas Refugee Camp in northern 
Sweden, which houses some 600 refugees from the former 
Yugoslavia and Somalia, saw a wave of nighttime attacks, 
including burning crosses, smashed windows, and an ultimately 
unsucessful arson attempt on one of the camp's apartment 
buildings.  In August a mosque was firebombed and completely 
destroyed.  The perpetrators received prison terms ranging from 
a few months to 2 years.  As noted above, the infamous "laser 
man" (so called because he used a laser sight to hunt down 
immigrants) also was convicted and is to be sentenced early in 
1994 pending further psychiatric examination.

The Government decided in 1993 to move responsibility for 
processing refugees to the local level.  All municipalities 
will be required to accept a certain number of refugees and 
provide for their needs.  A few such entitites have declared 
they will not accept refugees, but the matter has not been 
tested as the largest number of refugees, primarily from 
Bosnia, is not anticipated until 1994.  Although violent acts 
such as those described above are anathema to the overwhelming 
majority of Swedes, attitudes in general towards asylum seekers 
contined to sour.  Refugees are resented in some quarters 
because they were perceived to receive too-generous benefits 
(such as immediate placement in apartments and extensive 
financial support) in a time of recession.

The Government, particularly the present Cultural Minister, is 
making efforts to change these attitudes.  The Government 
intervened in November, for instance, to overturn a decision by 
the Immigration Department to deny asylum to several Russian 
Jews.  The Government also supports groups which work against 
racism and anti-immigrant sentiments.  Perhaps the most 
effective is the "5-to-12" movement (taking its name from the 
"atomic clock"), founded by the parents of a teenage girl who 
on her own began organizing weekly anti-racist vigils in her 
hometown.  When their daughter was killed by an Eritrian 
immigrant, her parents channeled their sorrow into making the 
vigils a nationwide event, to occur on the December 5 at 
5-to-12 in the evening.  The King and Queen joined this year's 
vigils.  Swedish schools provide education and information 
designed to counter racist tendencies.  The Government and key 
politicians, including the Prime Minister, issued strong 
statements about Sweden's history of tolerance and its need to 
continue in that tradition regardless of the economic downturn.

The Government runs special programs to help immigrants adjust 
to Swedish life and culture [including 240 hours of free 
Swedish-language instruction].  Immigrants still complained 
about difficulties in finding professional employment.  The 
Government continued its efforts to translate and evaluate 
diplomas from foreign countries to facilitate the hiring of 
foreign nationals with documented professional skills, with 
several new nationalities added to the approved list.  
Unemployment figures for immigrants in general were 
considerably higher than for native-born Swedes.

     People with Disabilities

Disabled persons are provided with extra help to be able to 
live as normal a life as possible in their own homes, as well 
as assistance in pursuing a career or holding a job.  
Regulations for new buildings require that they be fully 
accessible.  However, this requirement has not been extended to 
existing public buildings.

Section 6  Workers Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers have the right to associate freely and to strike.  A 
large majority of the working population, including career 
military personnel, police officers, and civilian government 
officials, belong to trade unions.  Unions conduct their 
activities with complete independence from the Government and 
political parties, although the Confederation of Labor Unions 
(LO), the largest federation, has been allied for many years 
with the Social Democratic Party.  Swedish trade unions are 
free to affiliate internationally and are active in a broad 
range of international trade union organizations.  Laws forbid 
retribution against legal strikers.  On the other hand, illegal 
strikers (i.e., wildcat strikers or a strike action that 
recklessly and clearly endangers health or safety) can be fined 
by labor courts.  Only a few minor strikes took place in 1993, 
most of them settled quickly.  The longest strike during the 
year was that of the electricians which lasted about a month.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers are free to organize and bargain collectively.  The 
traditional form of collective bargaining through national 
framework agreements between central organizations of workers 
and employers, followed by industry- and factory-level 
agreements on details, was challenged by the Swedish Employers' 
Confederation, SAF.  In 1993, after a two-year wage 
stabilization agreement expired, a new national agreement with 
small wage increases was signed for the manufacturing 
industry.  As structured, the settlement represented a step 
toward the decentralization of the wage formation process, as 
favored by business.  At the same time, labor welcomed the 
conclusion of a national-level agreement with a modest wage 
increase instead of threatened wage cuts.

Swedish law fully protects workers from antiunion 
discrimination and provides sophisticated and effective 
mechanisms for resolving disputes and complaints.  Disputes 
concerning violations of labor laws are in the vast majority of 
cases solved by informal discussions between the involved 
parties.  Should a settlement not be reached, a Labor Court 
tries cases of general interest for guidance and interpretation 
of the law, and its rulings in turn are followed by other 
courts.  Employers generally accept the unions' partnership 
role; there were no known cases of firing an employee for union 
activities in 1993.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor, which does not exist, is prohibited 
by law which is enforced by the police and public prosecutors.

     d.  Minimum Age of Employment of Children

Compulsory 9-year education ends at age 16, and full-time 
employment is normally permitted at that age under supervision 
of local municipal or community authorities.  Those under age 
18 may work only during daytime and under a foreman's 
supervision.  During summer and vacation periods, children as 
young as 13 may be hired for part-time work or light "summer 
jobs" for periods of 5 days or less.  It is rare for people 
under 15 to be employed except by family members.  Violations 
are few, and enforcement--by police and public prosecutors, 
with the assistance of the unions--is considered good.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no national minimum wage law.  Wages are set by 
collective bargaining contracts, which typically have been 
observed even at non-union establishments.  Even the lowest 
paid workers are able to maintain a decent standard of living 
for themselves and their families because of substantial 
assistance available from social welfare entitlements.  The 
standard legal work week is 40 hours or less.  The amount of 
permissible overtime is also regulated, as are rest periods.  
Since 1991, Sweden's vacation law has guaranteed all employees 
a minimum of 5 weeks plus 2 days of paid annual leave, and many 
labor contracts provide more.  During 1993, however, the 
minimum leave was reduced by 2 days through negotiations with 
the unions.  Occupational health and safety rules, set by the 
government-appointed National Board of Occupational Health and 
Safety in consultation with employer and union representatives, 
are closely observed.  Trained trade union stewards and safety 
ombudsmen monitor observance of regulations governing working 
conditions.  Safety ombudsmen have the authority to stop 
life-threatening activity immediately and to call for a labor 
inspector.  The courts have upheld this authority.

[end of document]


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